Cities that work to create safe roads for bicyclists, by providing bike lanes, wind up making those roads safer for everyone. That's according to just-published research into twelve bike-heavy American cities, including Memphis, Austin, Seattle and Oklahoma City. The co-author of the study is a researcher at the University of New Mexico, Nick Ferenchak, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.
Previous research has shown that lots of bicyclists on the road make safer roadways. Why? "We found that the most important factor was . . . the built environment. Cities with a lot of bicyclists seem to be building their cities diferently -- separated, protected bicycle facilities," says Nick. "So if a city has [these] facilities, they're going to have more bicyclists. And not only are those bicyclists going to be safer, but also drivers are going to be safer . . . and walkers as well."
"Just taking an unsafe road and putting a sign that says, 'Share the Road,' that doesn't give a bicyclist any safe space," says Nick, in this longer version of the interview. "I would lean against using signage. To be safe, bicyclists need a space of their own, where they're not threatened by moving motor vehicles." Nick also comments on how his findings might improve the safety of Albuquerque's roads.